Monday, July 14, 2008

Columbus Direct Review

Columbus travel insurance logoArticle index:
  1. Columbus Direct - Company background
  2. Travel insurance products available
  3. Customer experiences with Columbus Direct
  4. Columbus Direct policy small-print analysis

1. The background of Columbus Direct

Since 1988, Columbus Direct have provided travel insurance cover for over one million customers.

Columbus were one of the first to help take travel insurance out of the hands of travel agents, and offered their products direct to the consumer, which usually worked out cheaper than using a travel agent. The brand carries favourable status because of its pioneering history and this extends to being one of the first insurers using the internet to sell travel insurance online, in 1999.

In 2001 Columbus Direct begun offering travel insurance in more than 40 countries via its multi-country online booking system.

Further to this business, parent company The Collinson Group also owns Club Direct; an insurer offering similar cover to Columbus Direct, but with much less brand awareness.

The Collinson Group subesquently employ ~ 500 staff from over forty nationalities, in seven countries. The group has customers in 120 countries around the world, and focuses on travel related businesses and these are regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

2. What kinds of travel insurance does Columbus Direct offer?

Columbus travel insurance gains popularity amongst consumers for its multitude of products, ranging from insuring the over 65's, to covering dangerous sports. The actual price depends on the particular circumstances and nature of each trip. Quotes are relevant to travellers in a wide variety of circumstances, choosing from:

  • Single trip travel insurance,
  • Annual travel insurance,
  • Backpacker insurance,
  • Ski trip insurance,
  • Business travellers,
  • Adventure travel insurance,
  • Policies for those aged 64 to 88,
  • Policies for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Columbus Direct also offer an executive policy, whereby specific items of business equipment up to £1000 in value can be insured.

Additional sporting activities and injury insurance for extreme sports would conventionally be handled by calling an insurer direct. But on their website, they offer cover for the following extra activities:

Abseiling, american football, bmx riding, bungee jumping, camel trekking, skiing, climbing, cycling, deep sea fishing, dry slope skiing, elephant trekking, fan boating, fencing, fishing, go karting, gorge walking, heliskiing, heptathlon, hockey, hydro-speeding, ice skating, jungle trekking, kayaking, kite surfing, korfball, lacrosse, land yachting, motor boating, mountain biking, mountaineering, overland expedition, parachuting, paragliding, paragliding / parapenting, parasailing, parascending (behind boats), quad biking, reverse bungee, river sledding, river tubing, rock climbing, roller blading, roller skating, rowing, safari, sand duning, sand surfing, scuba diving, sea canoeing, sea kayaking, skate boarding, small bore target shooting, via ferrata,walking high altitude, white water rafting, windsurfing, zip lining, and zorbing.

The final price will vary depending on which of the above sporting activities you chose.

3. Customer’s experiences with Columbus travel insurance

As with all insurance companies, the reviews offer a mix of customers' experiences with very different situations and expectations. However the overwhelming theme is of Columbus Direct providing efficient and thorough responses to customers' emergency situations abroad. This is especially true for frequently occurring incidents, for example; on-piste skiing injuries. - Columbus Direct review - Columbus Direct review

4. Columbus Direct insurance quote specifics

Investigating closely the insurance policy small-print indicates that leaving valuables in a hotel room will not be covered under this policy if the items are not secured in the hotel safe.

What is a valuable? Currently, cameras, photographic apparatus, video equipment, stamps, documents, dentures, hearing aids, furs, binoculars, tape recorders, cassettes and players, radios, compact discs and players, computers and accessories, mobile phones, video games and TV sets are listed as valuables, according to Columbus Direct.

There is an interesting definition between adults and children; a person age 18 and under, is categorised as a child. Age 19 and over; an adult. This may have an impact regarding the holiday conduct of insured teenagers.

One benefit of buying a family policy with Columbus Direct, is all individual family members are still covered if travelling alone, but only if each individual is named on the policy taken out.

In their policy, medical insurance cover is a very thorough £10 million. suggest that £2 million in cover is sufficient for a typical traveller who has no pre-existing medical conditions.

For annual cover, the maximum trip length insured, depends on the level of insurance chosen with Columbus Direct. This can be 21 days, 31 days and 60 days.

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